Born Preterm: A Public Health Issue

Filomena Pinto, Eduardo Fernandes, Daniel Virella, Alexandre Abrantes, Maria Teresa Neto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
176 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Prematurity accounts for about 10.6% of neonates worldwide and tends to increase as does survival from lower gestational ages. Summary: The importance of preterm birth in public health stems from its link to infant and under-5 mortality, morbidity, and its economic impact. In both the short and long term, preterm birth consequences are inversely related with gestational age and carry a higher risk of mortality and morbidity with neurodevelopmental, sensorial, cognitive and physical health disturbances. Individuals needing lifelong support pose challenges to the responsiveness of health services and community systems. Public health can be decisive in prematurity prevention, providing data to policy-makers and reducing modifiable risk factors. This paper focuses on the long-term consequences of preterm birth and possible public health measures to tackle them. Key Messages: Addressing social determinants of health can have the highest impact on prematurity outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPortuguese Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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